6 Wedding Ideas That'll Wow Your Guests (Without Breaking Your Budget)

Wow factors don't have to cost a fortune

Updated 05/01/19

Photo by Sarah Falugo

Sometimes, it's the little things that make the biggest impact. And when it comes to your wedding day this statement couldn't be truer. You don't have to spend a fortune on extra ceremony and reception details in order to impress your guests. In fact, we found the best wedding ideas guaranteed to blow your guests' minds and not your wedding budget.

We don't need to tell you that wedding planning can get expensive. So the last thing you need to do is blow your budget on reception details and wedding upgrades that your guests may not even notice. Instead, save your cash and spend it wisely on wow-factor wedding ideas that aren't huge budget-breakers. Trust us, they exist! Slight changes to your reception lighting and wedding decor can drastically upgrade the look and feel of your wedding. And even small details, like fresh garnishes on those signature cocktails, can totally make your day more memorable.

Below, see six striking wedding ideas that'll impress your guests—and won't cost a fortune.

Mood Lighting

colorful wedding reception table
Photo by Taylor Abeel

Colored table candles save you money on flowers and add "the romantic feel of a candlelight reception," says event planner Brooke Keegan. "Try a variety of heights for added drama."

Late-Night Eats

Photo by Jessica Castro Weddings

Late-night snacks are a crowd pleaser like no other. When stomachs start grumbling after two hours of tearing up the dance floor, a surprise snack attack delivered via an ice cream sandwich station or a local food truck acts as "fuel to keep the party going," says Keegan.

Statement Chairs

Photo by Jennifer Lindberg Photography; Flowers by Gypsy Floral

It's easy to overlook what's under you, but chic seats make a major impact, says Keegan. "They're one of the first things eyes focus on in a room." (Click here to see every type of wedding chair rental!)

Decorative Paper Straws

Photo by Emilia Jane Photography

A must-have for any eco-friendly bride! Paper straws that complement your wedding theme or colors look absolutely smashing in a mixed drink or signature cocktail, says Charleston-based wedding planner Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride. "You can buy a bunch of these in bulk for a very low cost via sites like Etsy." Plus, you'll be giving some love to the environment by banishing plastic straws.

Throw Pillows From Home

Cowley Manor
Photo by Kate Headley

Jazz up your lounge areas and make guests feel right at home with some chic and cozy throw pillows, suggests DiSalvo-Follmer. Already own some? Great! If not, chose inexpensive throw pillows from houseware stores, thrift shops, and online that you can later repurpose in your home after the big day. (We're all for wedding ideas and decor you can recycle afterward!)

Fresh Garnishes

Personalized Cocktail Napkins
Photo by Rachel Buckley Weddings

Consult your caterer on this one! As Swoon California wedding and event planners Jennifer Arreguin and Natasha Burton point out, fresh garnishes on drinks and plates (even just one sprig on each place setting) can amp up the wow factor and elevate your cocktail hour or seated meal. And it'll barely cost you a thing!

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of Brides, on sale beginning April 30.

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